Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Christianne Bennetto graduated in 2009 from AFDA Film School with a Bachelor Degree in Film Producing. Her main studies included screenwriting, directing and producing. She also spent some time learning about film financing. Preferring the actual business of the film industry to its creative side, she has focused her career ambitions on the vital art of finance, without which no film would ever proceed from concept to screen.
Bennetto's filmmaking business savvy was spotted soon after her graduation by two of South Africa's most prolific, talented and respected filmmakers, producer Anton Ernst and director Darrell Roodt. Since meeting them, she has worked as production manager, associate producer and producer on five of their independent feature films.
Christianne worked as associate producer on Jakhalsdans (2010), which was produced by Ernst and directed by Roodt. An Afrikans language love story, it tells of a school teacher who spends the last of her savings to buy a home in a small town, and when the local school is threatened with closure, forms a plan to hold a music festival to raise money. A famous musician neighbor is at first her greatest obstacle until the two join forces for the good of the community.
On the film The Little Kings (2011), which was directed by Roodt, Christianne served as both production manager and co-producer with Ernst who also co-wrote the screenplay. The film examines the relationship between a school football team's coach and boy footballers as well as the life lessons they learn in a sports environment.
Stilte (2012), co-produced by Christianne with Ernst and directed by Roodt, is the story of a talented young singer about to realize her dreams when both her parents are killed in a home invasion and she is left for dead. Having lost faith in everything she holds dear, including God, she relocates to a farm where a young pastor convinces her that her life was spared for a reason. Stilte is both an emotional love story, and an inspirational film about finding peace with your maker and the power of prayer.
Bennetto is a principle in Azari Media, the production company behind Little One (2012), co-produced by Ernst and Benneto and directed by Roodt, which tells of a six-year-old girl who is left for dead in the veld after being raped and beaten. She is found by a middle-aged woman, Pauline, who takes her to hospital, then oversees her recovery and helps rebuild her confidence and sense of self-esteem. When Pauline's attempt to adopt the girl fails, she kidnaps her and sets out to find the child's attackers and bring them to justice. Roodt credits Christianne with brilliantly casting Lindiwe Ndlovu in the film's lead role. Little One has been chosen by The National Film and Video Foundation as the official South African entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.
Christianne also worked on Roodt's big-budget bio-pic Winnie (2011), which chronicles the life of Winnie Mandela who, together with her husband Nelson, crusaded to end apartheid and was known to most South Africans as 'the mother of the nation.' The current project being helmed by the Roodt-Ernst-Benneto team is Safari, an action-thriller about two American couples who travel to South Africa to have the vacation of a lifetime and things go horribly wrong.
For her financing acumen and casting insight, Christianne Bennetto is receiving TheWIFTS Foundation 2012 Producers Award.